Now for the soldier. He was still breathing, but only just. A huge man, he lay on one side close to the cliff edge. It was time to be ruthless. The soldier would have killed Ned with no remorse. And the man had almost slaughtered the wolf. Ned was still in mortal danger so this Malaxian had to go. The boy forced him up by pushing his legs and then an arm. It was no good. He looked around and picked up a sturdy branch. He shoved it under the broad body and levered him upwards. Eventually, an arm flopped over the precipice, and then a leg. Pushing the branch upwards, he tilted the man over. The soldier bounced against a rocky outcrop and crashed through foliage growing out of the cliff. He hit the angry waters, a booming froth devouring him.
Ned had killed his first man. He looked down, but knew his own life was just another scalp to these men. Despite his young age, he felt no remorse. Standing back, the boy saw blood on the grass. The wolf kept its head low and looked up at him. There was nothing he could do to hide the blood. Looking around the clearing, his eyes widened when he realised two adult wolves over to his left. They held back, watching. Ned moved carefully away from the injured wolf. They crept toward the younger member of their pack and licked the wounds. The wolf was nudged to his feet and the three animals stared at Ned, who turned and disappeared into the forest, silent as a shadow.